THIN LIZZY – Chinatown (2011 deluxe edition)
Thanks again Amazon! I recently collected all the Thin Lizzy Deluxe Editions. Eventually, I’ll review them all. Today, I’m doing one of the lesser known albums, 1980’s Chinatown.
You know, it’s funny how perspective changes. When I first got this album a few years back, “Sugar Blues” was my least favourite track. Now, it’s my favourite. Just listen to that Snowy White guitar solo with headphones on, and dig into that driving rhythm. Incredible.
In general, I enjoy Chinatown a lot more now. There are some strikingly great Thin Lizzy tunes on here, albeit a bit less complex than previous albums. “Killer On The Loose” remains a great heavy metal song with brilliant soloing courtesy of Gorham. “We Will Be Strong”, the slightly understated opener, is also a personal favourite. It may not be loaded to the gills with familiar songs, but Chinatown is still a fine Lizzy platter.
Another winner is “Genocide (The Killing of the Buffalo)”. Some might wonder what right an Irish man has to criticize what the white American did to his land. I think it’s a pretty straightforward and clear-cut position. It’s also a great song, riffy and solid.
“Having A Good Time” is an enjoyable romp (Phil’s cheerleading being infectious) with yet another Snowy solo that just sails. It just rides the song beautifully and elevates the whole thing. Personally, I think Snowy’s work with Thin Lizzy has been among the most interesting. He may not have been the “right” guy for Lizzy (discuss!) but his work cannot be dismissed. As an interesting bluesy sideroad, the Snowy White era of Thin Lizzy is as compelling as the previous eras.
This deluxe edition adds a bonus disc of extra goodies that is well worth the price. (At press time, selling for about $17 on Amazon.ca, although I paid $32.50 CAD when it was just out.) The B-side “Don’t Play Around” is stellar. While the live take of “Sugar Blues” is previously available on the Thin Lizzy box set (smoking solo by the way), “Whiskey In The Jar” is a really interesting version. Performed as a trio by Phil Lynott, Brian Downey and Midge Ure (apparently because Snowy and Scott don’t know the song?), it’s a very different, simplified version of the song but no less catchy.
As with all Thin Lizzy deluxe editions, there’s an extensive booklet with photos, facts, figures, interviews, and so on. I enjoy reading along as I listen.